Asteya is a Sanskrit word that translates as ‘non-stealing’. Asteya is a Yama, which translates as ‘observance’. We practice Asteya when we do not take that which does not belong to us. If it isn’t given freely, it is stealing. We may easily relate this to money, cars, phones, and other property. However, Asteya (non-stealing) also applies to ideas, time, and energy.
Stealing ideas and work
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
The second half of this Oscar Wilde quote is often left out. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration from others whose work you admire. Inspiration can feed your creativity, helping you to create something new and unique. However, copy and pasting another’s words, or editing out the original authors/artists’ details so that you can take credit for their work is theft and it’s a sign of mediocrity.
I have had my work stolen many times. This is plagiarism and theft of intellectual property. I have experienced flyers for my yoga classes being copied including the font and images. A well-known new age/spiritual shop shared a post I created on social media, after they cropped my name and contact details from the image. Recently a fellow hypnotherapist posted an advert to a Facebook group with my words. All of them. They copy and pasted several paragraphs of my post, only changing the name and contact information. I contacted them directly and they removed their post immediately.
I often see a quote on social media with no credit given to the original author. Some who see these uncredited posts on social media may be deceived into believing that the person or page sharing that quote wrote it. I have read responses to these posts of “you’re so wise”. Perhaps, they don’t know who to credit, or maybe it’s done on purpose? Regardless of the intent, I can tell you that it’s an easy and quick process to google a quote, leaving no excuse not to give credit to the original author. Or, stating that the author is ‘unknown’ if no original author can be found. It is unethical and it is theft to pass someone else’s work off as your own.
What do these examples have in common? Regardless of the intent behind these actions, whether it was laziness, the inability to create their own content, or deliberate theft, they claimed credit for work that was not their own. This type of stealing is common, and you may know the frustration of having your ideas and work stolen. You have put in the effort, energy, and the work, only to have someone else take the credit. Practice Asteya and always give credit where credit is due. Be inspired by others, then go and create something that is unique to you.
Offering your time to help someone or agreeing to share your time for another’s benefit without any expectation of personal reward, is a gift that you can give willingly. You may invest your time to make money by going to work or running a business. You may decide how you want to spend your time or who you want to spend time with. However, some may believe that they are entitled to your time without respecting your boundaries or from a belief that they deserve it. This is also stealing.
For example, I have always been understanding of last-minute cancellations, rescheduling of appointments, or students that can’t come to a class they have booked. Hey, life happens, and things don’t always go to plan! However, booking a session or a class and not showing up, not bothering to let someone know that you won’t be there, is stealing time. From my perspective, this demonstrates that they don’t consider someone else’s time to be as valuable as their own.
It is hard to put into words what stealing energy is. Energy is subjective, it will depend on your perspective of different relationships in your life and how you view energy. There is a difference between someone who needs your support, and those that do not respect boundaries. If you need support and an empathetic ear, ask before debriefing to a friend, ask if they are okay to listen. Perhaps they are feeling overwhelmed and may have a lot going on in their life, maybe today isn’t going well for them. It’s also okay to let someone know that you may not have the ability to give them what they need in this moment. This is all very personal to you and to your relationships. Notice if you feel that someone is taking energy from you without consideration and respect.
To practice Asteya we need to include an understanding that ideas, effort, energy, and time are valuable. No one has the right to take from another what has not been freely given.
I am a counsellor, hypnotherapist, life coach, yoga, and meditation teacher. Contact me to arrange a time for a no obligation, confidential discussion about how I may be able to assist you.
Inner Mind Therapies
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